The parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast food chains sued rival Jack In The Box Inc. on Friday to stop TV ads that it says suggest Carl's Jr. and Hardee's use cow anus to make Angus beef hamburgers.
CKE Restaurants Inc. sued Jack In The Box in U.S. District Court on Friday over an ad in which executives laugh hysterically at the word "Angus" and another where the chain's pingpong ball-headed mascot, Jack, is asked to point to a diagram of a cow and show where Angus meat comes from.
"I'd rather not," the pointy-nosed Jack replies.
The employee asking the question traces a circle in the air with his pen while pronouncing the word Angus.
CKE claims the ads create the misleading impression that Jack In The Box's new 100 percent sirloin burgers use a better quality of meat than the Angus beef used by Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. CKE claims the spots confuse consumers by comparing sirloin, a cut of meat found on all cattle, with Angus, which is a breed of cattle.
Executives at San Diego-based Jack In The Box had not seen the lawsuit and could not respond, company spokeswoman Kathleen Anthony said.
Restaurants owned by Burger King Holdings Inc. and McDonald's Corp. also serve Angus beef burgers.
CKE is known for running controversial ads for its chains, including one featuring a scantily clad Paris Hilton washing a car while eating a burger. But CKE claims the Jack In the Box ads go too far.
"They're not being funny," CKE chief executive Andrew F. Puzder said Friday. "They need to stop misleading people about what Angus beef is."
Puzder said that the company asked Jack In the Box to drop the ads, but that the chain refused and pointed to a Carl's Jr. TV spot suggesting Carl's Jr. milk shakes were superior to those served by competitors.
Puzder said the comparison was not valid because the Carl's Jr. ads did not suggest that Jack In the Box shakes were made from milk that came from an unsavory part of the cow.